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Excavations
at
Valshni
Village,
Arizona

Cover
Copyright

2002 Editor's Foreword

1973 Editor's Foreword

Author's Preface

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables

Regional & vicinity maps

Introduction

Habitat

Methods

Dating

Architecture
Vamori
Topawa
Non-architectural Features
Pottery
Local
Intrusive
Misc. Clay Objects
Burial

Stonework

Bonework

Shellwork

Summary and Conclusions

Appendix: Canal

Bibliography

2000 notes

Valshni Village logo


Summary

and

Conclusions

The preceding chapters have presented the material culture of the inhabitants of Valshni Village, representing, the Vamori and Topawa Phases. It seems probable that the traits used to define these two phases represent earlier time horizons of the culture which gave rise to the Sells Phase. The dwellings were of the same general type, although the houses of the Sells Phase lacked the covered entrance characteristic of the earlier Vamori and Topawa Phases. The practice of cooking food in outdoor hearths did not change throughout the three phases. The pottery developed locally, and its gradual development may be traced from the Vamori Phase through the Sells Phase. The presence of one inhumation at Valshni Village and three at Jackrabbit Ruin, would tend to indicate inhumation as the method of burial. The bonework remains the same throughout, and only minor differences occur in the shellwork. These facts serve to show that the three phases represent different time levels within a single culture. The occupants of Valshni Village and Jackrabbit Ruin may be separated chronologically, but not culturally.

The only point which may not support this cultural continuity in Papagueria is the change in economy which is implied between the Topawa and Sells Phases. There is a sudden increase in milling stones correlated with a great increase in redware and the initial use of earth enclosures and canals in the Sells Phase. These certainly indicate a change. These changes may in part represent a shift of emphasis from hunting and gathering to a stronger dependence on agriculture. They may also mean that at the beginning of the Sells Phase there was an influx of new people, or at least of new ideas, into the area which served to stimulate the local Papaguerian culture to reach its highest aboriginal development. Scantling credits the region to the south for the origin of most of the new traits in the stone complex of the Sells Phase (Scantling, 1940:68). The idea of canals was probably introduced from the Hohokam area. The earth enclosures seem to be a local development (Scantling, 1940:66), and the increase in the redware was simply the continuation of a trend begun in the Topawa Phase, redware being present from the beginning of the Vamori Phase in small quantities.

It has been shown that the aboriginal culture of the Papaguerian area represents a local development from early to late. The question now arises as to how this local development is related to the cultures of the surrounding areas.

The occupation of Valshni Village has been placed at between A.D. 800 and A.D. 1250. This assignment of time has been made almost exclusively on the basis of intrusive pottery from the Gila Basin area to the north, as this is the only area bordering Papagueria for which a chronology of a comparable period had been worked out. The other minor traits which could be compared with those of the Gila Basin area bear out the validity of these dates. The intrusive pottery types used to date the Vamori Phase, were Santa Cruz Red-on-buff, dated between A.D. 700 and A.D. 900, Sacaton Red-on-buff, dated between A.D. 900 and A.D. 1100, and a large number of sherds intermediate between the two types. This led to the conclusion that the first occupation at Valshni Village came during a period in which the Gila Basin area was experiencing the gradual change from the Santa Cruz Phase to the Sacaton Phase.

The Topawa Phase occupation at Valshni Village was of a much shorter duration than that of the Vamori Phase and is therefore represented by much less material. However, the material which does occur, especially the pottery, indicates a definite change from the Vamori Phase. The Topawa Phase is dated between A.D. 1100 and A.D. 1250. [Ed. Note: Greenleaf notes that the date of A.D. 1250 for the end of the Topawa is reasonable on the basis of archaeomagnetic dates (Greenleaf: Manuscript).] The intrusive types used to date this phase were Sacaton Red-on-buff and Casa Grande Red-on-buff. The former is probably a late variety of the type and could be assigned to the Santan Phase, dated between A.D. 1100 and A.D. 1150 (Schroeder, 1940:145). [Ed. Note: In recent years, the existence of a Santan Phase has been questioned. Schroeder (personal communication) now believes, that there is no such phase, while Hayden (personal communication) still believes very strongly in its existence. Hammack (personal communication) believes that there is good evidence at Las Colinas (in preparation) for what can be called a Santan Phase.] Casa Grande Red-on-buff is the Red-on-buff ware of the Soho Phase, dated between A.D. 1150 and A.D. 1325 (Schroeder, 1940:147).

Following the Topawa Phase occurs the last defined phase in the prehistory of Papagueria. This is the Sells Phase Scantling, 1940), estimated to date between A.D. 1250 and A.D. 1400. The redware reached its full development during the Sells Phase in the distinctive Sells Red Type. The other chief traits which distinguish the Sells Phase are: rectangular surface houses with no entrance passages; burial by inhumation; Tanque Verde Red-on-brown pottery (Sells Variety); an abundance of grinding stones; overhanging manos; grooved pestles; and rectangular arrow shaft polishers.

The change from the Topawa Phase to the Sells Phase was so gradual that no definite date may be assigned to it at this time; but it apparently occurred in the latter part of the 13th Century.

Following the Sells Phase, from A.D. 1400 to A.D. 1700, almost nothing is known about the archaeology of the region. This is known as the Recent Period. The Modern Period,from A.D. 1700 to the present, covers the known occupation of this area by the Papagos.

Who Were The Papaguerians

The placement of Valshni Village in regard to space is more difficult. The recognized culture of the area immediately touching Papagueria on the north and east is that of the Hohokam, occupying the drainages of the Salt, the Middle Gila, and the Santa Cruz Rivers. Table 6 lists the traits which are like Hohokam as opposed to those which are not.


Table 6
Papaguerian Traits

Similar
Dissimilar
Oval, covered house entrances

Large type dwelling of the Topawa Phase
Stepped entrance

Inhumation
Three-quarter grooved axe

Pottery
Rubbing stones

General scarcity of stonework
Abrading tools

Stone vessels

Effigy palettes

Pottery discs

Shellwork

bonework

Table 6 demonstrates that there are many more traits which could be Hohokam at Valshni Village than not. Several of these traits however, such as the rubbing stones,the hammerstones, the pottery discs, and the bonework, are elements which are found throughout Arizona and Western New Mexico. The effigy palette, the stone vessels, and the shellwork are so scarce at Valshni Village, that they were quite possibly traded in from the Hohokam area. Some of the traits, such as three-quarter grooved axes, may reflect Hohokam influence upon the occupants of Valshni Village, in terms of adopting a more efficient tool than the local population previously used; or perhaps a more aesthetically pleasing tool.

The apparent use of inhumation by the Papaguerians to the lack of cremation should be quite significant in comparison to the dominant Hohokam practice of cremation. The fact that very few burials of any kind have been found at the excavated sites in Papagueria, especially considering the extensive testing done at Valshni Village, is in itself contrary to the usual conditions on Hohokam sites, where cremations are common. [Ed. Note: It would appear that this is also contrary to conditions in the Trincheras area where both cremation and inhumations are found in some quantity (Johnson, 1963:177, and Bowen, Manuscript).]

Ceramically, there are few points of conformance between Hohokam and Papaguerian pottery. Not only are the design elements different during the time of the Vamori Phase, but there is a difference in the color of the final product, the Hohokam Red-on-buff as opposed to the Red-on-brown of Papagueria. During the successive Topawa and Sells Phases, the ceramics were influenced to an increasingly greater degree, from the Tucson area.

The observations made above indicate that the occupants of Papagueria were not Hohokam. However, before any definite answers can be made to the question, "Who were these people?", further studies must be made to the south, and the traits of the prehistoric groups in Sonora must be compared with those of Papagueria. In the light of present evidence, it seems that the culture in Papagueria had no more affiliations with the Trincheras area than it did with the Hohokam. Trade, especially in pottery, was carried on extensively with both areas, particularly in the Vamori Phase, but the developments at Valshni Village can be linked with neither. Of the two, they were probably more closely affiliated with the Hohokam. [Ed. Note: Two authors have suggested a closer relationship to the Santa Cruz River area, Greenleaf saying that "the reconstruction of events in Papagueria have a direct bearing on the Tucson development" (Manuscript), while Grebinger states "in terms of material culture similarities, and possibly subsistence activities, the Potrero Creek Site (located on the Santa Cruz River-Ed.) resembles Papaguerian sites and not riverine sites" (1971:17).] It has been suggested (Brand, 1935:300) that the Trincheras people and the Hohokam were perhaps antagonistic toward one another. Yet both carried on extensive trade with the people of Valshni Village over a long period of time. This might be an indication that the residents of Valshni Village were neither one nor the other.

A relation with one other area must be considered. This is the desert region west of Papagueria bordering the lower reaches of the Colorado River. Contact with this area at an early time is shown by the Yuman-like designs on Vamori Red-on-brown and by the presence at Valshni Village of a few sherds of stucco ware which resemble Colorado River types. Unfortunately, Yuman archaeological data, which might be compared with that of Papagueria and aid in tracing Papaguerian affiliations, is not available at this time.

Even though further evidence from the areas to the south and west might answer many of the problems still unsolved in Papagueria, it probably would still not serve to tell who these people were. It seems likely that the people of Papagueria were an indigenous people in an area which became a cultural cul-de-sac. Their development was helped from time to time by innovations from surrounding groups. Whence these people came cannot be answered at this stage. [Ed. Note: Haury has written (1950) that he believes the occupants of Papagueria to be affiliated with the Hohokam, an interpretation he still believes in (personal communication).]

Aside from the question of who these people were, the three chief problems toward which any further work in this region should be directed are: (1) the establishment of a pre-Vamori Phase, the existence of which is suggested at Valshni Village; (2) the strengthening of the Topawa Phase by an increase and further definition of the traits which belong to it; and (3) the definition of the culture of the Recent Period (A.D. 1400 - A.D. 1700) which would possibly link the Papago Indians to the prehistoric inhabitants of the region.




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Table of Contents
Appendix, canal .


Table of Contents
(Sequencing left to right, top to bottom)

Cover

Copyright

2002 Editor's Foreword

1973 Editor's Foreword

Author's Preface

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables

Regional & vicinity maps

Introduction

Habitat

Methods

Dating

Architecture

Vamori Architecture

Topawa Architecture

Non-architectural Features

Pottery

Local pottery

Intrusive pottery

Misc. Clay Objects

Burial

Stonework

Bonework

Shellwork

Summary and Conclusions

Appendix: Canal

Bibliography

2000 notes



Walter 'Dutch' Duering
PO Box 8429
Phoenix, AZ 85066-8429
United States

duering@stockmorehouse.com